I moved to Utah when I was 10 years old. The only way to fit in was to become like them. I was baptized when I was 12 for several reasons: 1) because it would make my Mom happy, 2) my Mom had remarried and her new husband was a Mormon, therefore, we attended the Mormon church already, 3) if you weren't a Mormon, you were ostracized!
I remember a Sunday School class where we discussed what to do if you are on vacation and there is no Mormon church around. Would you go to a different church, or would you just not go. The CORRECT answer was "You do not go to another church, ever!" I remember thinking then (I must have been about 14 at the time) "If their religion is as good and solid as they say it is, then what are they worried about attending another church? Are they afraid they will get contaminated?"
I went to the Temple and did baptism for the dead. When my Mom got remarried, our entire family was "Sealed" in the Temple. I remember my parents wearing white clothes and green aprons, and I thought, "My mom sure looks funny."
I never did get deep into the doctrine of the Church. I had several disagreements with their doctrine before I was even 18. The first big one was the fact that they encourage the women to stay home and be homemakers and that is their only purpose in life. I was ready to go on my mission when I was 19--just like the boys did. But I was told that I would have to wait until I was 21. That was because they expected that by having the extra time to "think" about it, the girls would see that they really didn't want to go on a mission after all and they would in the meantime catch a husband and get married.
I left Utah when I was 19. I joined the Navy, and although that whole experience was one long, downhill slide, I did come to the conclusion that the "Church," and I was never going to be compatible.
The second big sticking point was when I became pregnant out of wedlock. This is frowned upon by many Christian communities and is very valid. However, I was strongly encouraged to give my child up for adoption. All unwed mothers should surrender their children to good Mormon families who would raise them properly. NO WAY!!! I kept my child and asked to be excommunicated. The Bishopric held a "Court of Love," asked me some questions, and then removed my name from the rolls of the church. They did counsel me with love and did seem to genuinely care about me as a person, but it was too little too late. The question that was easiest for me to answer and sealed my fate was "Do you intend to go on being promiscuous?" Yes I did. I was having the best time of my life trying to destroy myself. Many saved Christians today could tell similar stories I’m sure. The one thing that kept me alive, however, was that precious child that they had tried to get me to give up. When things got really bad and I just wanted to drive my car into oncoming traffic or off a cliff somewhere, I would think about what that would do to my son, and I would hang on a little longer.
Today I am a born-again Christian. I say it like that because before we were Mormons, we were free Methodist, and I did know Christ personally as a child. I have recently rededicated my life to God, and I am striving every day to walk eternally with Him and to know His Son Jesus Christ personally.
The question was why did I leave Mormonism? I was tired of living a lie, tired of trying to live up to impossible standards, tired of the guilt, the shame, the feeling that no matter what I did, how hard I worked, I would NEVER be good enough. Thank God that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us and that His very blood has cleansed us from all sin, guilt, and shame.
Praise God that I am alive today to continue His work!
Cottage Grove, OR